What a beautiful little country! I had the pleasure of spending a short time there with my bff as we traveled to a few countries in Europe, and I wish we had more time there! SO PRETTY!! We flew into Geneva, traveled to Bern and then to Zurich, making quick visits to Emmental and Thun. But oh my goodness you guys. Thun, though. Thun sits right on the edge of a big lake that is surrounded by the Alps and I could have spent 3 days just sitting there taking in the beauty. Here are a few shots I snapped-
Also, on our flight from Switzerland to Germany, our plane had some technical difficulties and we had to sit on the plane for a little while before they solved the problem, and the flight attendants came around and gave everyone some Swiss chocolate, and the captain himself walked through and apologized to everyone, and I thought that was pretty neat!
Sadly though, we didn’t get many opportunities to find any bakeries or anything while there, so my experience with authentic Swiss baked goods is still pretty limited. However, the little blurb with this recipe said that this recipe is from a friend of the author who is a Bern native, and often makes this ring for her family.
This Berner Mandelkranz, or Almond Coffee Ring from Bern, is a ring of bread that was rolled up with an spice and almond filling. And it is delicious. It is a lovely breakfast treat, or for a snack! I took a slice for breakfast on my way out the door more than once.
Its a relatively simple recipe in theory. Well…and in execution too. I didn’t have much trouble with it. And it’s a yeast dough that worked out for me, so I’m happy!
While making the dough, the recipe said to use a paddle attachment to mix the dough together, which sounded odd to me, but I went with it anyway. My dough came together pretty quickly and seemed like it was working the mixer really hard with the paddle trying to “mix” bread dough, so for the second round of mixing, I switched to the dough hook and the mixer seemed happier.
The only thing I was slightly unhappy about was the almond filling. I have tried grinding almonds finely in my food processor a few times and have always had trouble getting it super finely ground. It will get to the point of like course sand, but wont get much finer than that, and I think that’s why I had trouble with my marzipan back when I was doing the Swedish Princesstarta. But at least this time around, texture was not as big of an issue, and it worked out fine.
The only changes I made to this recipe were in the filling. I didn’t put lemon zest in it, simply because I forgot to get a lemon. And I added a little extra cinnamon, because that never hurts and cinnamon is good. And the recipe didn’t specify the kind of raisins to use, so I used golden raisins, because those seemed good that day!
This recipe also doesn’t call for any sort of decoration on top, but I wanted to make it slightly more interesting than a plain smooth top, so I put a few scores around the top. It didn’t do quite what I had hoped but it did add a little something else, so hey.
Let’s get our dose of Swiss current events shall we?
-Because I’m one of those people highly invested in the Olympics every time they come around, let’s look at how Switzerland is doing in Rio so far! They have five medals so far, two golds in cycling and rowing, one silver in tennis, and two bronze in shooting and gymnastics. I saw the gymnastic vault competition last night when the gymnast from Switzerland one the first medal in women’s gymnastics for Switzerland ever, so go her!
-Five people were injured, and one person was killed in an attack on a train from Buchs to Sennwald, when a 27 man started stabbing people and then poured some sort of flammable liquid on the train and set a fire. The people injured ranged in ages from 6 to 50. The man then set himself on fire and also died. Authorities are saying it wasn’t a terrorist attack and the man had no criminal record… Wow, I hope the victims make a full recovery 😦
-Switzerland has been rated the most innovative nation in the world buy the Global Innovation Index. This is the sixth year in a row Switzerland has been given this title. The Global Innovation Index (GII) “ranks the world’s economies’ innovation capabilities and results.” So..good job Switzerland! I’m running out of steam today so if you want to read more about this, here is the article I found!
Alright, so like the last recipe I did, I got this from the cookbook “A Baker’s Tour” by Nick Malgieri, which I will cite at the end!
Berner Mandelkranz/ Almond Coffee Ring from Bern
by Nick Malgieri
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons warm water, about 11o degrees
1/2 cup warm milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry measure cup and level off)
2 cups whole almonds, blanched or unblanched, finely ground in the food processor
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
Egg wash: 1 egg well beaten with a pinch of salt
Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
1 cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan lined with parchment or foil
- For the dough, whisk the yeast into the water and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.
- Pour the milk into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in the remaining ingredients, except the flour, by hand, and at a time. Whisk in the yeast mixture.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir in the flour.
- Place the bowl on the mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on lowest speed for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and let dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Beat the dough on medium speed until it is smooth and elastic, about 2 additional minutes.*
- Scrape the dough into a buttered bowl and turn the dough over so that the top is buttered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it is doubled, about 1 hour.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filing. Stir the ground almonds and the sugar together in a mixing bowl, using a large rubber spatula. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the raisins, and stir into a smooth paste. Set aside covered until needed.
- Once the dough has risen, scrape it out onto a lightly floured work surface and flour the dough. Press the dough into a rough rectangle, then roll it out into a rectangle 10 x 15 inches.
- Using a metal offset spatula, spread the dough with the filling. Distribute the raisins evenly over the surface.
- Roll up the dough like a jelly roll from one of the 15 inch ends. Transfer it to the pan, seam side down, and for a ring by connecting the ends of the dough, pinching them together where they overlap. Gently adjust the dough into an even circle.
- Cover the ring with a towel or piece of buttered plastic wrap and let it riseuntil it increases in bulk by about half, about 30 minutes. The dough is risen enough when you press it gently with a fingertip and the dough does not spring back.
- About 15 minutes before the ring is fully risen, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
- Paint the dough evenly with the egg wash, then let the egg wash dry for 5 minutes. Paint the dough again with the remaining egg wash.
- Bake the ring until it is a deep golden color and feels firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Slide the paper from the pan to a rack to cool the ring.
Serving: Cut the ring into thick slices to serve for breakfast, brunch or tea.
Storage: Keep the ring loosely covered with plastic wrap or a towel on the day it is baked. Double-wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for longer storage. Defrost the ring and bring it to room temperature before serving.
*blogger’s note: I switched to a paddle attachment to this step.
Malgieri, Nick. “Almond Coffee Ring from Bern, Berner Mandelkranz.” Recipe. A Baker’s Tour. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005. 61-3. Print.